The Impact of Social Media on Personal Injury Claims
Because of how connected people are to social media, it is essential to take into account that the lines that divide our personal and public lives are not as well defined as they once were. For example, think about how common it would be for someone to post that they were just in an accident. It may even come with a picture of the scene where it occurred. Our purpose for bringing this up is that many people are unaware that a seemingly innocuous post could impact the outcome of a personal injury case.
Before we explain why, begin to look at your relationship with legal counsel as something that reflects a partnership. When an attorney represents you and your claim, you have someone committed to finding (and fighting for) the best possible outcome. However, keep in mind that the more you can give your attorney, the better position they will be in to do so. This applies to everything from keeping your follow-up medical appointments to being cautious about what you post online. Understanding the legal implications of your online behavior is crucial for those navigating the legal waters after an accident.
Possibly Contradicting Your Claim
Consider the person who is in an accident and has severe back pain, limited mobility, and has endured emotional distress. However, you post a picture of yourself walking into a gym. Or maybe you are arm-in-arm with your gym buddies. In reality, you may have been at the gym to meet with a physical therapist or personal trainer who has outlined a program for your rehabilitation. The risk is that opposing counsel might argue that this picture is evidence that contradicts your claim.
The content you post may be from the past and may not reflect your current mental state. The concern is that your post could be misconstrued and used against you. To take it one step further, comments, check-ins, or any documentation contrasting your claims can weaken your case and potentially decrease your compensation.
Undermining Emotional Distress:
What happens if you and your attorney claim emotional distress or trauma due to your accident? A simple photo of you smiling or enjoying a social gathering might be used as evidence that you’re not as emotionally affected as you claim. It’s a common misconception that one must always look visibly distraught. However, the defense can leverage such images to argue against the severity of your emotional injuries. Even posts that seem unrelated, like sharing a funny meme or commenting positively on a friend’s status, can be misconstrued as being inconsistent with claims of emotional distress.
Think Twice Before You Post
Sharing our lives through social media platforms has become second nature. Though it may be common, pausing and considering the potential legal repercussions is still essential. Your online presence, whether a tweet, status update or Instagram post, can be a double-edged sword regarding personal injury claims.
If you or a loved one need professional legal counsel to assist you with a personal injury claim, consult with one of our attorneys before sharing any details or updates online. Silberstein, Awad & Miklos is here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring your rights are protected. Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation.